17th century and early 18th century: The Northern Schools, France, Italy
On the first floor, in a more recent part of the building (19th century), the public can visit a gallery devoted to 17th century art, with exhibitions in turn by the Northern, French and Italian schools.
The Golden Age: Flanders and Holland, 17th and early 18th centuries
The Golden Age refers to a particularly fertile period in Dutch painting, dominated by the figure of Rubens. Various strands can be identified:
*-Around Jan Brueghel the Elder (whose family played an important role in Flemish painting throughout the 17th century): religious or mythological paintings, works by Francken, Van Lint and notably, the painting by Hendrick Van Balen and Jan Brueghel the Elder, entitledLe banquet des dieux (Banquet of the Gods).
*-Around Peter-Paul Rubens (who established a very productive workshop in Antwerp), a Silène ivre (Drunken Silenius) by Ruben’s circle, a large Assomption de la Vierge (The Assumption of the Virgin) by Van Thulden, a student of Rubens’, and a magnificent Autoportrait by Jordaens.
*-Landscape, very much in vogue at this time with artists and collectors: landscapes peopled with figures by Van der Hagen, Hackaert, van Gillis, or landscapes with ancient ruins as their backdrop (Glauber, Breenbergh, Poelenburg) or little paintings with mythological scenes (Van Mieris, Enlèvement des Sabines (The Rape of the Sabine Women), Verbuys, Mars et Vénus (Mars and Venus) are examples of this very prolific style of painting.
*-The small adjoining room is devoted to Portraits, Still Lifes and Genre Scenes and is laid out in such a way as to evoke a Flemish collector’s living chambers from the 17th century. The still lifes (Van Kessel, Gillemans, Van Es, Denies) and the genre scenes (Tébiers, Le tête à tête or La mère difficile; Caulery, de Vos, Chien écrasé (Injured Dog)) were very sought after items by the bourgeois merchant classes of the day.
France: Louis XIV and the Regency, 1643-1723
The following room houses French works from the 17th and early 18th centuries. Classicism, later opposed to Baroque, is powerfully represented here by two large canvases by Philippe de Champaigne, L'enfant Jésus retrouvé au temple and Les pèlerins d’Emmaüs, as well as two beautiful paired pieces created by Nicolas Loir and works by Stella and La Fosse.
The painting by Pierre Mignard or those by Antoine Coypel from the early 17th century (Vénus et Vulcain and in particular L’Olympe) highlight the debate between colour and drawing that saw colour triumph.
Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries
The last room on the first floor is devoted to 17th and 18th century Italy and illustrates several artistic movements and regional schools.
The Neapolitan school was very influenced by the Baroque style, along with Caravaggio (paintings by Fracanzano, Saint-Pierre repentant (The penitent Saint Peter), Solimena, L’Annonciation (The Annunciation), Giordano, La Vierge adorant l’Enfant (The Virgin Adoring the Child)…)
Classicism is evident in various ways in the paintings of Vanni, Mola, Agar et l’Ange (Agar and the Angel), Badalocchio or Lorenzo Lippi with the superb Allégorie de la simulation (The Allegory of Simulation).
Finally the Venetian school from the late 18th century is also represented by two of its vedute [stars]: Guardi and the superb Apothéose de la maison Pisani (Apotheosis of the Pisani Family) by Giambattista Tiepolo.